February Rain Causes Ponding Problems on Neighborhood Streets
Weather in Minnesota can be unpredictable.
After receiving more than a foot of snow last week, people woke up Monday morning to the sight of rain.
“I think today we got approximately a half an inch or so of rain/sleet moisture mix,” said Tyler Langheinz, a public works employee with the city of Brooklyn Park.
In many places, that rain had nowhere to go, thanks to the piles of snow on the side of the road. It’s why public works employees like Langheinz were out looking for trouble spots.
When they find an area where a small pond has formed, the street maintenance crews use shovels and ice picks to chip away at the snow to find the storm drain buried underneath.
“It’s mainly because of flooding,” said Langheinz, when asked about why it’s bad when ponds form on the road. “So we just want to make sure that if [the water] does get out that far, people aren’t driving through it too fast.”
If the water gets too deep, experts say it can cause problems for drivers, pedestrians and even homeowners.
“In an extreme case, you can get some localized flooding that could actually even get into somebody’s home,” said Dan Ruiz, Brooklyn Park’s director of operations and maintenance. “That’s the last thing we want is any water getting near somebody’s home.”
To prevent that worse-case scenario, Brooklyn Park crews drive around and search for streaks of green paint in the middle of the road. The green marks serve as an indicator that there’s a catch basin nearby that needs to be cleared.
Help from the public
But city officials say the responsibility doesn’t necessarily have to fall solely on street maintenance crews.
Much like the adopt-a-hydrant program, the city of Brooklyn Park is asking people to shovel out storm drains in their neighborhood to help prevent pooling water.
“Anything they can do to help us out is much appreciated,” Langheinz said.
The labor, however, is time-consuming.
Yet when the street maintenance crews complete the job of clearing the snow from a storm drain, the pooled water nearby immediately starts flowing in.
It’s a satisfying conclusion to a tedious task — a task they’ll likely have to repeat a few more times this winter.
“We just have to be ready to be prepared to handle whatever Mother Nature gives us,” Ruiz said.
Meanwhile, if you don’t have the ability to clear out a storm drain yourself and you notice water starting to pool, you can call Brooklyn Park’s operations and maintenance department at (763) 493-8007.
You can also report the issue on the city’s website.
Related: Homeowners Urged to Dig Out Fire Hydrants